Reporting from Oklahoma City — If the Lakers play Oklahoma City in the first round of the playoffs, they'll want to pay particular attention to the events of Friday night.
Front and center in the abrupt end of the Lakers' 12-game winning streak against the Oklahoma City franchise was the blur of younger, faster players who frustrated and confused them for the better part of 48 minutes.
Kevin Durant was solid (26 points), but Russell Westbrook was even better, scoring 23 points on 10-for-13 shooting in the Thunder's 91-75 victory.
The fourth pick in the 2008 draft after playing two years at UCLA, Westbrook also had six points and four steals, catching the attention of at least one Lakers player.
"He's improved leaps and bounds," Kobe Bryant said. "Durant's a great player, but I think Westbrook's development has really helped elevate this team."
Westbrook had little trouble eluding the Lakers' guards, penetrating at will or pulling up for a slew of open looks.
Not even an injury could stop him.
He headed to the locker room after appearing to sprain his left ankle in the second quarter but returned within minutes.
"He's one of the toughest players I've ever played with," Durant said. "He won the game for us. He's incredible."
At the very least, Oklahoma City (44-27) is one of the league's most improved teams after finishing 23-59 last season.
The Lakers (53-19) are comfortably ahead of anybody else in the Western Conference, but Oklahoma City is enmeshed in a tightly knit lower half of playoff contenders.
The Thunder remained in sixth place after Friday's victory.
San Antonio is a game behind Oklahoma City in seventh place and Portland is 1 1/2 games behind the Thunder in eighth.
Durant came into the game as the NBA's second-leading scorer, his 29.7 points per game leaving him one-tenth of a point behind Cleveland's LeBron James.
But Lakers Coach Phil Jackson wasn't overly impressed by Durant, who made nine of 19 shots.
"He was OK," Jackson said. "That's not a game-breaker [Friday]. He got some calls, got to the line, that [was] questionable to me."
What was the game-breaker?
"Just their energy," Jackson said. "They kept coming at us. They ran the ball hard at the offensive end."
Therein lies a potential problem for the veteran-laden Lakers. Durant is 21 years old. So is Westbrook. Versatile power forward Jeff Green is 23.
Green wasn't very accurate Friday, scoring 10 points on five-for-15 shooting, but the Thunder didn't need him to be.
Oklahoma City has plenty of young talent, should the Lakers need a reminder next month.